Consciousness is essential — why the death of the Left is consequential: A rejoinder to Benedict Cryptofash


Chris Cutrone

Platypus Review 145 | April 2022

BENEDICT CRYPTOFASH CRITICIZES me for using the “Left” as a concept for its alleged idealism and metaphysical essentialism.[1] But by identifying the “Left” with a group of people, e.g. members of Jacobin/DSA et al., Cryptofash reifies the phenomenon of the Left, and in the worst possible way, by personalizing it. But even in colloquial discourse it is well understood that Left and Right represent principles not people. This is why someone who was a Leftist can become a Rightist: he can change his mind.

The Left is not a thing but rather expresses a process; moreover the Left refers to the tendency or force of a historical process. Aaron Benanav criticized Platypus for its preoccupation with the Left rather than with class — similar to the criticism of Platypus by my old ex-comrades of the Spartacist League[2] — and referred as Cryptofash does to the Left as the Left-wing of capitalism, as if this disqualified the concept.[3] But Marxism always considered itself to be the consciousness of the historical tendency of capitalism that pointed beyond it and that was necessary in order to actually get beyond it. For instance, Lenin considered the Marxist approach to socialism to be overcoming capitalism on the basis of capitalism itself. But that tendency was self-contradictory in that it pointed both further beyond capitalism but also back to the reconstitution of its historical roots in bourgeois society — the society of labor Download Windows 7 PhotoViewer. The modern labor movement of the proletarianized working class was itself the core engine of capitalist development, driving the industrial development of production, which contradicted and undermined and destroyed its bourgeois social relations, producing crisis. The problem with the present Left — and for the past hundred years — is that it no longer expresses the emerging and developing consciousness of the subject of a historical tendency — proletarian socialism — but rather the memory of something that proceeds today seemingly objectively — without a corresponding political movement aiming to go beyond it. In the absence of such a subjective consciousness of history as a phenomenon in practice, capitalism itself appears to regress.[4] This regression is something that can be observed in both long-term and short-term political processes.

In my previous article in this thread, I tried to explain very briefly the mind of original historical Marxism as a political movement.[5] I will now try to illustrate the point with the example of the leader of Jacobin/DSA, Bhaskar Sunkara, who recently took over the historically progressive liberal Nation magazine. Sunkara has apparently changed since he published an article in The Nation, “Reclaiming Socialism” (2015), in which, under the influence of my teachings in Platypus, he cited Kołakowski’s “Concept of the Left” to justify his political vision.[6] Back then, Sunkara’s influences were Lenin and Kautsky (from “when Kautsky was still a Marxist,” as Lenin put it[7]) Hot body. But this is no longer the case.

More recently, Sunkara claimed that he was less a follower of Kautsky than of Ralph Miliband. This is in keeping with the 2017 statement written by Vivek Chibber to distinguish Jacobin/DSA’s perspective from that of the Marxism of Kautsky and Lenin, “Our Road to Power” — by contrast with Kautsky’s 1909 The Road to Power, which Lenin followed in the Revolution of 1917.[8] I addressed this on the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, to which Sunkara and Leo Panitch replied, defending Miliband’s “Marxist” bona fides against my characterization of him as a “liberal” — a proponent of a liberal democratic road to socialism, very much like the reformist Revisionism of Eduard Bernstein et al. from more than fifty years earlier.[9] Miliband’s idea, with which Sunkara, Chibber and Panitch agreed, was that the capitalist state could not be overthrown and replaced by the working class’s own organizations in the dictatorship of the proletariat, but had to be worked through existing liberal democratic electoral means to a potential transformation of society — the endless dream of reformist social democracy (through the Democratic Party of all vehicles!) that has ensnared the Millennial Left like the generations before them. Most recently, Sunkara said that socialism was probably ultimately impossible in the U.S., but at least some “social democracy” was possible, by which he meant public sector and welfare state expansion.[10] This was an abandonment of Marxist ideas, or at least of their current relevance politically.

Perhaps Sunkara thinks he has remained consistent, but there seems to be some change of mind Mysterious apartment free. Perhaps not in principle — perhaps he still finds socialism desirable but not possible, and ultimately not necessary to meet the needs of the present — but certainly in terms of practical politics and what he takes to be the “art of the possible,” which is the essence of politics. In so doing, he has abandoned the Left’s role in pushing — and transcending — the envelope of possibility and realizing hitherto unrealized potentials, not even necessarily in changing society but merely in renewing the Left and socialism or Marxism as a political tendency. Sunkara has abandoned the task of building a socialist party. Instead, Sunkara et al. among the Millennial Left have fallen back upon the dead traditions of the past post-Marxist “Left” — accepting and reinforcing the liquidation of proletarian socialism over the course of the past century, since Lenin’s time. This is why and how it takes the form of calls for a “new New Deal” etc.[11]

This downward trajectory in perspectives is a significant degeneration of consciousness on the part of a key leader of the Millennial Left. Five years ago I called it the death of the Millennial Left, in its liquidation into the Democratic Party.[12] It has only grown worse since then. I take Cryptofash’s objection to “Leftism” to be a symptomatic phenomenon of the same degeneration, but one which throws the baby out with the bathwater, in rejecting Jacobin/DSA’s road back to the Democrats. Cryptofash derogates consciousness by calling it “idealistic” and “metaphysical,” an “abstract” and so supposedly unreal “essence.” But then one must ask what the purpose of Cryptofash’s own writings is 택시 드라이버. What is the point of his arguments if all that matters is “material reality”? Indeed, in prioritizing empirical reality over consciousness, Cryptofash follows the present dead “Left’s” lead into accommodating the power of the status quo, abandoning the consciousness of how it could and should be changed — first of all, how the present “Left” must be fundamentally changed. Cryptofash’s “anti-Leftist Marxism” merely strikes a pose against the “Left.”

Marx followed Kant and Hegel’s — modern German Idealism’s — and bourgeois thought’s more general sense of the task of “consciousness” as the necessity of freedom: the struggle for freedom is motivated by consciousness of necessity. And the highest necessity is not base “material” need — the animal survival of the workers — but rather freedom: the necessity of changing the world, specifically of overcoming capitalism. It was a matter of Rousseau’s “general will” of society as more than the sum of its parts in the wills of its members, Kant’s “transcendental subject” of freedom, and Hegel’s “objective mind” (Geist, Spirit) as it develops in history. Marxism’s consciousness of “communism” was more specifically — and empirically — that of a political outlook and strategy for pursuing it and the reasons for this historically. Marx did not invent communism, which predated him, but critiqued it. Marx’s was moreover a “historical” critique of existing society in the contradictions of capitalism to be overcome, a “historical consciousness” or “consciousness of history” and its tasks: why socialism or communism arose as an ideology in the very specific phase of history in the Industrial Revolution. Marx thought that the world had only to recognize what it was struggling for in order to realize it.[13] Marx found the existing communist consciousness of his time to be lacking: its call to abolish private property resulted in a reification of labor rather than its overcoming, especially since capitalism itself already abolished private property snagit 2018 다운로드.[14] But he thought that proletarian socialism as a movement was capable of learning the bitter lessons of its struggles — why it remained trapped in its opposition to and within capitalism. This learning process was the subjective factor of history. But what can be learned can also be unlearned.

Cryptofash exhibits a striking “historical” liquidation of the historical, reducing things like the splits of Marxism in revolution and civil war as mere “context,” which ends up affirming whatever happened. — I am reminded of my late professor Moishe Postone saying that capitalism will be overcome when it is good and ready, despite what the Left wants or thinks. The Marxist critique of history is lacking. The fact is that the workers’ movement for socialism has up to now failed, and this has affected history. The issue is the objective vs. subjective character of the proletarianized working class in capitalism. — In his last interview before he died, Postone claimed that we were presently witnessing the historical liquidation of the working class.[15] But for that to actually happen would require a subjective political act, leading to actually overcoming capitalism, since capitalism can objectively by (Marx’s) definition not do without workers. As long as there are desperately poor people willing or able to have their labor exploited, capitalism will continue — until the workers themselves put a stop to it. There is a necessity of politically achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat.[16] Communism as the “real movement of history” according to Marx is not merely an objective but a subjective issue: “theory gripping the masses” as a “material force”[17] also means the masses grasping theory — or at least a political ideology. That’s the role of the Left.

Antonio Negri had an idea that we were already living in communism but just didn’t realize it.[18] But the point of the Left is to realize it — not in the sense of just an idea or change of “consciousness” in the colloquial sense, but a critical theory helping make it happen in reality, in practice. The working class won’t be able to do so without a Left, without a theory of what they are trying to do in practice. Cryptofash’s desire to proceed separately from and in opposition to the Left, and without the necessity of Left theory and ideas, expects communism to happen on its own — with people as not the subjects but the objects of history. But people have perspectives and ideas, and those ideas and perspectives matter. We cannot afford to abdicate on helping to provide them. They are affected by the history of the Left and the historical self-liquidation of Marxism, which is not merely past but a continuing obstacle to the future.[19] The Left’s corpse is not something we can ignore.[20] We must remember history. | P


[1] “The Left is not the Right,” March 10, 2022, available online at <https://antileftistmarx.substack.com/p/the-left-is-not-the-right>.

[2] See “Platypus Group: Pseudo-Marxist, Pro-Imperialist, Academic Claptrap,” Workers Vanguard 908 (February 15, 2008), available online at <https://www.icl-fi.org/english/wv/908/ysp-platypus.html>, where they wrote that “For Platypus, the fundamental social divide is not the class struggle of proletariat vs. bourgeoisie, but an amorphous and classless contest of ‘Left’ vs. ‘Right’.”

[3] See Benanav’s remarks on the panel discussion “Program and utopia,” Platypus Review 58 (July 2015), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2013/07/01/program-and-utopia/>.

[4] See The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century: Toward a Theory of Historical Regression, Platypus Review 17 (November 2009), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/the-decline-of-the-left-in-the-20th-century/>.

[5] “The Left is a concept — but social revolution is not: A response to ‘Benedict Cryptofash’,” Platypus Review 143 (February 2022), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2022/02/01/the-left-is-a-concept-but-social-revolution-is-not-a-response-to-benedict-cryptofash/>.

[6] The Nation, 150th Anniversary Issue 300.14 (April 6, 2015), March 23, 2015, available online at <https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/red-any-other-name/>.

[7] “I. In What Sense We Can Speak of the International Significance of the Russian Revolution,” in “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920), available online at <https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/lwc/ch01.htm>.

[8] Jacobin, December 5, 2017, available online at <https://jacobinmag.com/2017/12/our-road-to-power>.

[9] See my “Lenin today,” Platypus Review 126 (May 2020), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2020/05/01/lenin-today/>.

[10] “The Promise (and Limits) of Social Democracy,” The Jacobin Show, June 6, 2021, available online at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLl2fAydnhE>. — Actually, I don’t know when and where Bhaskar said this exactly; I couldn’t find it when looking for it now. Perhaps it was something I dreamed in the haze of the COVID pandemic lockdown. But I’m pretty sure he said it in some context or other, and it struck and stuck with me. See also “Biden Offers Fiscal Liberalism, not Social Democracy,” Jacobin Show, June 7, 2021, available online at <https://youtu.be/uTBGqc0O3oI>. ADDENDUM (4/1/22): I finally found it!  In the Bard College Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities talk of March 2, 2021, “Tough Talks: Bhaskar Sunkara,” Sunkara said that, “Perhaps we will fall short of our loftier ambitions [of socialism], but we will still manage to win a more just United States that will at least have Medicare for All, and a living wage for all, and the chance for decent work for all,” online at <https://youtu.be/UpJ9iqvIdmY>.

[11] See my “The end of the Gilded Age: Discontents of the Second Industrial Revolution today,” Platypus Review 102 (December 2017 – January 2018), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2017/12/02/end-gilded-age-discontents-second-industrial-revolution-today/>.

[12] See my “The Millennial Left is dead,” Platypus Review 100 (October 2017), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2017/10/01/millennial-left-dead/>.

[13] See Marx’s September 1843 letter to Arnold Ruge, “For the ruthless criticism of everything existing,” in The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker, 2nd ed. (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1978), 12–15, available online at <https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/letters/43_09.htm>.

[14] Marx and Engels, “II. Proletarians and Communists,” in Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), available online at <https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm>.

[15] “Marx in the Age of Trump,” Vienna Humanities Festival: Hope and Despair, September 17, 2017, available online at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJIaze-C2Qs>.

[16] See my “The dictatorship of the proletariat and the death of the Left,” Platypus Review 141 (November 2021), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2021/11/01/the-dictatorship-of-the-proletariat-and-the-death-of-the-left/>.

[17] Marx, “Contribution to a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” (1843), available online at <https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/intro.htm>.

[18] See Michael Hardt and Negri’s books Empire (2000), Multitude (2004) and Commonwealth (2009) where this is elaborated.

[19] See my “Remember the future! A rejoinder to Peter Hudis on ‘Capital in history’,” Platypus Review 8 (November 2008), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2008/11/01/remember-the-future-a-rejoinder-to-peter-hudis-on-capital-in-history/>.

[20] See my “Vicissitudes of historical consciousness and possibilities for emancipatory politics today: ‘The Left is dead! — Long live the Left!,” Platypus Review 1 (November 2007), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2007/11/01/vicissitudes-of-historical-consciousness-and-possibilities-for-emancipatory-social-politics-today/>.

April 1, 2022 | Posted in: Essays | Comments Closed

Chris Cutrone

Chris Cutrone is a college educator, writer, and media artist, committed to critical thinking and artistic practice and the politics of social emancipation. ( . . . )

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Ukraine: More of the same

Chris Cutrone

Platypus Review 145 | April 2022

WHY IS THERE WAR? Because capitalism is self-contradictory, and this is expressed in conflicts among workers as well as among capitalists, and between “national” working classes and capitalist states, between politicians and political parties both within and between nation-states, and often these conflicts are violent. But this does not mean that economics determines politics in capitalism. Quite the opposite. Neither does politics determine economics. Indeed for Marxism politics means the “class struggle” — and the class struggle means overcoming capitalism in socialism — and anything less than that is not really politics at all — not struggle for the direction of our freedom — but just Darwinian struggle for existence and gangsterism: eating and being eaten Download finaldata.[1]

There is thus no alignment of economic and political interests. There is not only independence of politics from economics but also within politics. The Marxist approach to socialism is in crucial ways fundamentally different from capitalist (pseudo-)“politics” in that it seeks however conjuncturally — in revolution — to line up economic and political interests in proletarian socialism, but this is not normative and applies to literally no other form of politics and is moreover critical in character: that economics and politics should be made identical so that they can be overcome through their mutual contradiction. Indeed this is the very point of Marxism: in capitalism there is not only no alignment of economics and politics, but they are in direct contradiction to each other 방송 효과음 다운로드. The proletarianized working class is the most self-contradictory of all subjects of capitalism: they have no objective interest other than their self-abolition as laborers — though they have a subjective interest in their self-fulfillment as workers.[2] The workers’ individual and collective interests are contradictory.[3] The capitalist bourgeoisie can seem by contrast to have identical political and economic interests — and identical collective and individual interests — and hence appear to represent the interests of society as a whole in a non-self-contradictory way.

The lack of contradiction leads us to the slaughter. There is no reason whatsoever to doubt that the present conflict is between the Ukraine and Russia gifs 다운로드. Under present conditions it makes no sense to say that it is a conflict between Ukrainian and Russian capitalists to whom the Ukrainian and Russian workers and other people are subject. Nor does it make sense to say that this is a conflict between imperialism and anti-imperialism — however one might regard this, whether of U.S./NATO imperialism and/or Russian imperialism. This is not only because national-communitarian conflict predates the current crisis — the breakaway Russian-majority provinces in the Donbas region of Ukraine and Ukrainian nationalist militias as well as the Ukrainian government’s attempts to suppress them — but because there is no possible or potential alternative political leadership in the current conflict other than capitalist ones; only an alternative opposition to capitalist leadership would make the present leadership specifically capitalist as opposed to something else — other than simply nationalist Download the swordsman's youngest son.[4] The Ukrainians and the Russians have the leadership they do in this moment, and this shapes the nature and character of the conflict. There is no point to pointing to contrary “underlying causes” for this conflict other than the obvious ones: it really is Putin vs. Zelensky; and, yes, Zelensky is receiving support, albeit qualified, from the U.S. and NATO (as well as from the greater “international community” i.e. other capitalist leaders — from whom Putin also receives support, including from the U.S., for instance through oil sales) Download english cursive fonts. That war is a horror show and miserably sordid affair is captured well by the image of rusting Russian tanks swerving to crush fleeing cars and shooting up apartment blocks in their invasion of the Ukraine. — Superfluous labor and capital indeed.[5]

A Marxist approach hence has little if anything — perhaps nothing at all — to say beyond what in the capitalist policy debates is already being said.[6] For example, the “Realist” academic International Relations professor John Mearshimer has criticized the U.S. political consensus of liberal humanitarian interventionism and neoconservatism that has dominated policy for decades — except Trump.[7] As was observed recently by Christoph Lichtenberg of the former Spartacist “Trotskyist” Bolshevik Tendency, Fox News conservative pundit Tucker Carlson has a more accurate analysis of the Ukraine war and its causes than most ostensible “Marxists.”[8]

The “Left” has fallen out over Ukraine depending on which capitalist politicians they want to tail after and follow in the present conflict, cheering from the sidelines in the usual ways of unseemly sports spectatorship. Some on the “Left” are positioned as “anti-fascist” — whether Russian or Ukrainian — in Russia’s “military operation of denazification” of the Ukraine; others of the “anti-imperialist Left” lick their chops in hopes of a new anti-war movement — which will not happen out of fear that criticizing the Biden Administration will help Trump’s otherwise inevitable return to the U.S. Presidency: the “Left” in all its varieties is as ever switched on and off as needed by the Democrats; and the Democrats are beating the drums for war against Russia, convinced by their own lies about Trump and other Republicans’ “Russian collusion;” and anyway desperate to stem their coming rout in the 2022 midterm Congressional elections due to their cascade of failures from COVID to crime to inflation — and now Ukraine.

The Millennial Left was born in the anti-war movement against the George W. Bush Administration that vanished upon Obama’s election in 2008.[9] Its revival in Occupy Wall Street and other anti-austerity protests in the Great Recession led to the rebirth of the Democratic Socialists of America under the leadership of Jacobin magazine’s editorial board convened by Bhaskar Sunkara, boosted by the Bernie Sanders campaign that was part of the same moment as Trump’s election in 2016.[10] It is telling that DSA today is equivocal on the war: they have nothing new to say; neither does anyone. “World War III” is just yet another 1980s remake streaming on multiple platforms. Condoleezza Rice said that she didn’t want the “smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” but we know that was never going to happen. Now, after the death of the Millennial Left,[11] a new generation can come back full circle to the terrifying spectacle of war 20 years later — long enough to have forgotten the last war and requiring the same lessons to be learned — which weren’t — again.[12] They won’t be.[13] | P


[1] See my letter, “Platypus ‘position’ on ‘imperialism’,” published as “Platypus fuss” in the Communist Party of Great Britain’s Weekly Worker 964 (May 30, 2013), available online at <https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/964/letters/>.

[2] See my “The dictatorship of the proletariat and the death of the Left,” Platypus Review 141 (November 2021), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2021/11/01/the-dictatorship-of-the-proletariat-and-the-death-of-the-left/>.

[3] See my “The negative dialectic of Marxism,” prepared opening remarks for the Platypus Affiliated Society public forum panel discussion on “The politics of critical theory,” transcript published in Platypus Review 140 (October 2021), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2021/10/01/the-politics-of-critical-theory-2/>.

[4] See my “Internationalism fails,” Platypus Review 60 (October 2013), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2013/10/01/internationalism-fails/>.

[5] See Moishe Postone, “History and helplessness: Mass mobilizations and contemporary forms of anticapitalism,” Public Culture 18, no. 1 (Winter 2006), available online at <https://read.dukeupress.edu/public-culture/article-abstract/18/1/93/31815/History-and-Helplessness-Mass-Mobilization-and>.

[6] See Spencer Leonard, “Nothing left to say,” Platypus Review 10 (February 2009), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2009/02/03/nothing-left-to-say-a-critique-of-the-guardians-coverage-of-the-2008-mumbai-attacks/>.

[7] See my “Why not Trump again?,” Platypus Review 123 (February 2020), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2020/02/01/why-not-trump-again/>.

[8] See the Platypus Affiliated Society public forum panel discussion “Crisis in Ukraine! The Left and the Current Crisis,” held on March 10, 2022 in New York City: watch online at <https://youtu.be/Uyoe5ml05LQ>.

[9] See my “Iraq and the election: The fog of ‘anti-war’ politics,” Platypus Review 7 (October 2008), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2008/10/01/iraq-and-the-election-the-fog-of-anti-war-politics/>.

[10] See my “The Sandernistas: The final triumph of the 1980s,” Platypus Review 82 (December 2015 – January 2016), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2015/12/17/sandernistas-final-triumph-1980s/>; Postscript on the March 15 Primaries, Platypus Review 85 (May 2016), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2016/03/30/the-sandernistas/>; and P.P.S. on Trump and the crisis of the Republican Party (June 22, 2016) appended to the prior Postscript.

[11] See my “The Millennial Left is dead,” Platypus Review 100 (October 2017), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2017/10/01/millennial-left-dead/>.

[12] See my “Afghanistan: After 20 and 40 years,” Platypus Review 139 (September 2021), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2021/09/02/afghanistan-after-20-and-40-years/>.

[13] See my “1914 in the history of Marxism,” Platypus Review 66 (May 2014), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2014/05/06/1914-history-marxism/>.

| Posted in: Essays | Comments Closed

Chris Cutrone on Sensible Socialist on the death of the Left (video and audio recordings)

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In this episode Kevin talks with Chris Cutrone about the thesis that the Left is dead cudnn. They discuss the Platypus Affiliated Society, what he means by the death of the Left, a brief history of the Left in the 20th century, a discussion of the Millennial Left, the question of the DSA and the gradualist approach, and much more 쿨보노.

Sensible Socialist on Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9zZW5zaWJsZXNvY2lhbGlzdC5jb20vZmVlZC8/episode/aHR0cDovL3NlbnNpYmxlc29jaWFsaXN0LmNvbS8_cD0zODE3?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahgKEwiw4vy7-q_2AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQxgs
Sensible Socialist Website: https://sensiblesocialist.com/2022/03/05/the-death-of-the-left-81/

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Chris Cutrone with Doug Lain on Ukraine and post-politics (video and audio recordings)

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Chris Cutrone of the Platypus Affiliated Society interviewed by Douglas Lain of Diet Soap / Sublation Media on the current state of the Left in the time of the Ukraine crisis and resurgent international war but more importantly in the recent and longue duree history of the past 100 years and the liquidation of Marxism and socialism and demise of the Millennial Left producing the present post-political or pre-political moment. 

Can the socialist Left become political Remember downloading? Chris Cutrone and Douglas Lain talk pseudo-politics, war as politics by other means, and why the task of socialism remains the same as they discuss his 2015 lecture “How is Platypus a Pre-Political Project?” Cutrone’s 2015 lecture https://youtu.be/iDiv7MioqJ8

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Chris Cutrone with Doug Lain on art and capitalism (video and audio recordings)

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Chris Cutrone of the Platypus Affiliated Society joins Douglas Lain of Diet Soap/Sublation Media to discuss Clement Greenberg’s 1939 essay “Avant-Garde and Kitsch.” This is a follow up to the 2/3/22 Critical Cuts video “Are NFTs Revolutionary?,” but Cutrone also offers a defense of Greenberg, discusses the limits of the SI, and wonders if it’s time for the Left and the working class to “realize the Spectacle.” Cutrone stays past the hour to discuss his art career and how it ended ezpdf reader 3.0 다운로드. Are all Marxists secretly would-be artists? Are all artists secretly would-be Marxists?

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The Left is a concept — but social revolution is not: A response to “Benedict Cryptofash”

Chris Cutrone

Platypus Review 143 | February 2022

LESZEK KOŁAKOWSKI’S “THE CONCEPT OF THE LEFT” (1958) is useful for addressing what it means to say that there is a Left and a Right in Marxism.[1] It is derived from the Revisionist Dispute regarding Orthodox Marxism and the question of reform vs. revolution in the 2nd Socialist International 라따뚜이 영화. The actual occasion for Kołakowski’s article was Soviet Premier and Communist Party head Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin for “crimes against Leninism” and against socialism. What did this mean?

It goes back to the accusation against the Socialist Party-associated labor unions and the Marxist theorist Eduard Bernstein and his Revisionist associates in the 2nd International, who advocated reform struggles within liberal democratic capitalism at the expense of socialist revolution, that they were “opportunists.” This is what characterized them as the Right edonkey 다운로드. Kołakowski describes this as adaptation to and expression of the “inertia of the status quo” that characterizes the Right as conservative.

By contrast, Orthodox and “revolutionary” Marxism upheld what Kołakowski called the Left as “utopia.” Kołakowski wrote that what characterized the Left was an “idea” and moreover its “negation” of the status quo, not programmatically as in a blueprint for a better society, but rather as a “mysterious and obscure” expression of historical potential and possibility that is not yet realized.

This goes back to the bourgeois revolutionary philosophy of Rousseau, Kant, Hegel and others which contrasted what “is” with what “ought” to be, the process of becoming within a state of being that expressed what could and should be but “is not” yet jsp 텍스트 파일 다운로드. Marxism descended from this revolutionary philosophy of the era of bourgeois emancipation and enlightenment from traditional civilization.

So what is the difference that makes this such a contentious issue? Capitalism has its origins in the bourgeois revolution, but for Marxism expresses a potential beyond it: socialism/communism — “communism” as an Ancient religious ideal of collective equality; “socialism” as a modern political ideology stemming from the potential inherent in capitalism but not possible previously and not yet existing in historical reality Download Sechskies.

The problem is not that the Marxist Left — the revolutionary political ideology and “[Hegelian] scientific theory” of historical Marxists such as Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, among others — is descended from bourgeois revolutionary philosophy, but rather that since the failure of Marxism historically to achieve socialist revolution in the early 20th century, capitalism itself has tried to adapt to the threat of proletarian discontent and disorder through “progressive liberal” democratic capitalist welfare-state measures and the national organization of capital accumulation.

Stalinism was an adaptation to this failure of world socialist revolution and assimilation instead to “progressive capitalism,” thus making Stalinism the modern expression of the Right wing of Marxism, expressing the inertia of history and society and becoming the ideology of the liquidation of the proletarian struggle for socialism 아이패드 웹. Trotsky called Stalinism the “antithesis of Bolshevism” — of Marxism.

The Left is dead today because it is the Right — not because it is the Left. The Left as a historical idea of Marxism motivating the proletarian struggle for the socialist transformation of capitalism has become instead a late bourgeois ideology of the “progressive” reform of capitalism. This already happened nearly 100 years ago and is still in effect very strongly today. Marxism is thus entombed in history.

The Left–Right distinction is not social but political and ideological in nature. Its meaning for Marxism comes from a division and split in the political party for socialism — the split of the 3rd Communist from 2nd Socialist International in the Russian Revolution and its world-historic aftermath: the old Socialists were the Right and the new Communists were the Left. From a Marxist perspective, the established Socialist Parties existing today are still the Right, despite being called the “Left.” Trotsky and his comrades called themselves the Left Opposition to Stalinism in the Communist International. They made a claim to uphold the true spirit of Marxism and proletarian socialist revolution that still haunts us today.

Lenin (in)famously observed that socialist ideology must come from outside the social and economic and political struggles of the working class within capitalism.  What was this “outside”? It wasn’t sociological — from bourgeois intellectuals — but rather historical: it comes from the past accumulation of experience of the bourgeois democratic revolution and its self-contradiction and defeat in capitalism. Lenin called socialists “Jacobins indissolubly connected to the workers movement.” This is the idea.

The workers movement comes from bourgeois discontents in capitalism: capitalism’s contradiction and betrayal of “equality of inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Jefferson — who importantly led the Left wing of the American Revolution). Only historical experience and its critical lessons can teach the proletarianized working class in capitalism that the goal of its struggle is beyond bourgeois emancipation and freedom, within which their struggles are otherwise inevitably circumscribed, reproducing capitalism.

Only a Marxist socialist Left could possibly lift the horizon of such struggle beyond capitalism. But only the working class can actually achieve the real goals of this struggle in social revolution. | P


[1] See Benedict Cryptofash, “The Left is not a concept,” Platypus Review 142 (December 2021 – January 2022), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2021/12/01/the-left-is-not-a-concept/>.

February 1, 2022 | Posted in: Essays | Comments Closed

Chris Cutrone and Conrad Hamilton debate 20th century regression from socialism (video and audio recordings)

CircuitBreaker

Chris Cutrone and Conrad Hamilton with Doug Lain of Diet Soap Media debate 20th century regression from the struggle for socialism, addressing the 1930s Old Left and 1960s New Left and the Russian and Chinese Revolutions and feminism. 

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